Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Michael Keaton (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Jack Nicholson (The Joker), Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon), Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale)

Three years after Frank Miller reinvented Batman on the comic page, Tim Burton pulled off the same trick on the big screen. Miller’s Dark Knight may have set comic fandom buzzing, but it took Burton’s movie to wipe the memory of the ’60s Batman from the public consciousness. There were elements of Miller’s yarn in Burton’s reimagining, but the film was more Batman Gothic than Batman noir.

It’s far from faultless: Jack Nicholson’s monumental performance as the Joker hijacks a film that should be about its hero and the fight scenes are strangely choreographed (in that they look choreographed). Moreover, Michael Keaton is a bizarre choice as lead, lacking both the physical presence of Batman and the suave charisma of Bruce Wayne. But all of these minor blips pale into insignificance when set against the stunning visuals, the authentic feel of mythology in the making and a witty, inventive script. The result is a totally believable and completely immersive superhero universe. Batman isn’t the star here, nor is even Nicholson’s Joker – Gotham takes that honour.


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